Ortiz: Francona probably had problems with players

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Ortiz: Francona probably had problems with players

Why did the Red Sox clubhouse self-destruct? Were there players drinking during games? David Ortiz wouldn't say one way or the other, but he did indicate that his teammates weren't always giving 100 percent.

"They probably haven't," Ortiz told CSN's Jessica Moran. "Trust me, the way things are going down right now here, they will learn. They will learn. And I guarantee they will try their best to improve things for next year.

"We're all pro ballers here -- at one point you have to know when the lack of effort is affecting you. I'm pretty sure it's gonna be better for next year."

The fact that players did not give their all is perhaps one of the reasons Ortiz's longtime manager Terry Francona is no longer with the team.

"When it comes down to that, I had a great relationship with Tito," Ortiz said. "I always gave him the green light, whenever I screwed up with something, for him to let me know . . . We were good at it.

"He probably had problems with some players," Ortiz added. "I can't really give you too many details about that. All I know is that you gotta just come here and get prepared to play the game."

It's a message that the Red Sox might have heeded during the regular season, had someone in the clubhouse been qualified to pass it along. But who? If Francona was tuned out, then perhaps a veteran player like Ortiz could speak the to club to get them back on track?

Not his job, Ortiz said.

"I'm one of the guys, I try my best to get things rolling one way or the other," Ortiz said. "I get along with pretty much everybody. At the same time I'm nobody to determine who does the right thing and who doesn't . . . It's not like I'm anybody's babysitter or anything like that."

First impressions: Detroit Tigers 4, Boston Red Sox 3

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First impressions: Detroit Tigers 4, Boston Red Sox 3

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Detroit on Wednesday afternoon:

1) Eduardo Rodriguez pitched pretty well, but not well -- or deep -- enough.

Rodriguez has now made three starts since coming back from Pawtucket and any one of them was better than his starts from earlier this year.

He's no longer tipping his pitches, he's commanding better in general and his fastball has been more powerful.

But he's also giving up a lot of hits (19 in 18 innings) and he's gotten through the sixth inning just once in his three outings. For a team short in its bullpen, that's leaving a big workload for the relievers.

2) The late-inning comebacks have been in short supply.

Yes,  the Red Sox have scored runs by the boatload at times. And yes, they've mostly played hard this season.

But before Wednesday, the Sox had been just 3-35 when trailing after seven innings and they had enjoyed only two walkoff wins all season.

Those numbers can be misleading, of course. Teams can dig out from early holes -- as the Red Sox did Tuesday night.

But the ninth-inning rallies haven't happened much. In fact, on the current home stand, the Sox have had the top-to-middle part of the order up in the bottom of the ninth -- with David Ortiz getting an at-bat each time -- on four separate occasions, trailing by a run or two, and couldn't produce a winning rally.

3) Clay Buchholz may be pitching himself out of the doghouse

After going weeks -- literally --between appearances, Buchholz has been called upon four times in the last seven games.

Granted, in most of those games, the Red Sox have been trailing. But the games were such that they were still within reach, contradicting John Farrell's remarks late last week when he broadly hinted that he didn't trust Buchholz in games that were close.

Slowly, however, Buchholz could be earning some trust coming out of the bullpen. He had a perfect inning Wednesday with the Sox trailing by a run at the time.

Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers lineup: E-Rod aims to avoid sweep

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers lineup: E-Rod aims to avoid sweep

BOSTON -- The Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound as they attempt to salvage the final game of their homestand and avoid a sweep at the hands of the Tigers.

Today's lineups:

TIGERS:
Ian Kinsler 2B
Jose Iglesias SS
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Nick Castellanos 3B
Justin Upton LF
Mike Aviles RF
James McCann C
Tyler Collins CF
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Michael Fullmer P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF
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Eduardo Rodriguez P